A Secular Agenda for Northern Irish Politics

Matt Johnston has some brilliant ideas which should be taken on board by those in Northern Ireland who wish to better the our future; political parties, voters, and potentially new political parties. Matt has created a list of terms — “a political ‘purity test’” — which can be applied to a local manifesto. The bottom line is that this is about a secular agenda with aims to improve the life of people and economy in Northern Ireland.

They are all excellent and valid points which need to be reverberated throughout our government and should be fought for as a society.

  • Do they support raising the bar for education in schools (especially with regards to computing education)?
  • What is their stance on equal marriage?
    Why do you want to stop people from getting married except under your definitions?
  • Do they support total transparency on finances?
  • What is their policy on parades and illegal organisations? If you support flying flags of illegal organisations (involved in murder) then you’re part of the problem. If you support parades going through anywhere but city centres, then you’re part of the problem. Keep parades the hell away from where people live.
  • What’s your policy on integration in schools? If it’s any less than 100%, then you’re just propagating the issues we’ve been suffering with for my entire lifetime. Religious instruction in state-funded schools is not appropriate. Religion is a personal experience. Keep it in your family and your congregation.
  • Do they support the teaching of Creationism in schools? This is a hot topic considering that government is trying to increase interest in STEM subjects and including a mythology alongside science is counterproductive. Creationism is a great story for goatherds two millennia ago. Let’s keep it for Sundays and get it out of our schools.
  • Are they prepared to apply the law to all without regard for historical or cultural sensitivity? This means no by-ball for their mates in the lodge (Orange or Hibernian). This means no unofficial vigilantes. This means more than simple “condemnation” of the violence.
  • Do they support the ridiculous opening hours restrictions placed on shops on Sundays? And not to mention the restrictions on pubs and nightclubs. We’re not a “party region”, we’re barely a tourist friendly region. Give tourists something to do on a Sunday morning other than listen to dreary bells.

These are all extremely valid and important, and, for the most part, they contribute massively to the reason Northern Ireland continues to remain years behind everywhere else on a number of issues. This list makes sense. And these issues need to be dealt with.

Read Matt’s post here.